On Wednesday, Chiefs coach Andy Reid left the door open for a reunion with third-round rookie cornerback KeiVarae Russell, who was released to make room for outside linebacker Dezman Moses.
But that door closed Thursday when Russell was claimed off waivers by the Cincinnati Bengals. The current waiver order is still determined by the 2015 standings, which means 23 teams passed on Russell before the Bengals — slotted 24th — picked him up.
Reid said the decision to release Russell, 22, was a “football decision,” and defensive coordinator Bob Sutton said Thursday that not all rookies grow at the same rate. Russell was surpassed on the depth chart by sixth-round pick D.J. White before his release.
“To be a rookie in this league is not always easy nor is it or equal,” Sutton said. “Not every guy who comes through these doors plays at the exact moment as the other guy. I never worry about that. Some guys, sometimes it’s situation.”
Sutton added that there was nothing wrong with Russell “at all.”
“I don’t think you can say he’s not going to play in our league,” Sutton said. “He easily can. He’s a hard-working dude.”